Thursday, July 27, 2006

How Great is Our God!!!

Frontliners is over....this creates a paradox of feelings in itself. I'm am sad that the constant fellowship and focus on the Lord is gone, but excited to see the ramifactions of such an event!
I can't remember all of the exact numbers, but approximately:

22,000 people were contact in 4 days by the students
The gospel was shared over 2000 times
Over 125 responded (obviously we don't know how many were sincere, but as far as a response goes) to the Spirit of the Lord moving in their hearts.

Those are the cold numbers, but there are so many amazing AMAZING stories.

By Wednesday evening, these students were worshipping God with every ounce of their soul.

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of students shared the Gospel with a Hindu man. When they asked if he would like to become a disciple of Christ's, he said yes. Unbeknowsnt to the students, this man's 10 year old daughter had been hiding behind her dad the whole time and heard everything the students shared. SHe then stepped out from behind her dad and said she wanted to know Jesus too.

On Tuesday evening, my friend Mike, who has been coming to church things for a few years now and is going to PBA in the fall and has a group of friends who have been praying for him for years...Mike became my brother in Christ on Tuesday evening!

On Wednesday, a team of students led 10 people to the Lord.

On a personal level, I am now going to Germany on a missions trip in October, if God provides the funds. I've never been on a missions trip before and am totally stoked about the opportunity!!!

There was a youth group from Louisiana there and the youth pastor shared the story of one os his students. This kid has had a rough year, and wasn't a believer coming into this week. He had had the gospel shared with him hundreds of times, but knew he wasn't a believer...everyone knew. He would have told you he wasn't. The funny thing was, he was totally excited to get to come and share Christ, even though he didn't know Christ. This youth pastor had been praying for this kid for 9 months, and another kid in the youth group had been praying for him for 5 years. On Tuesday evening, God drew this young man's heart towards him and became a believer as well.

Although my team didn't personally lead anyone to Christ, we went to over 250 houses and shared the gospel over 3o times. I can't wait to be in Heaven one day and find out how these seeds were reaped!!!!

Praise God for a good week and for willing students and for a ministry like Frontliners. We were so blessed to have both Kelly and Thomas speaking the word of the Lord over us each night and to be led to the throne of God by the Jason Elam band. My prayer is that each of these 7 men (2 speakers + 4 band guys + 1 sound guy) be blessed as much as they have blessed me and the youth group I am a part of.

*Update-I post none of this to the glory or uplifting of any man-the speakers, Bell Shoals pastors, the students, or myself. I only write of these things so that God's name may be made bigger and His glory be manifested throughout the whole earth*

Monday, July 24, 2006


Hello all! This is a prayer request post. The church I grew up in, Bell Shoals Baptist Church, is hosting Frontliners this year. What is Frontliners you ask? It is a ministry of Kelly Green's. A church hosts a big crusade type event from Sunday through Wednesday of a week and Kelly and other evangelist come in and present the gospel each night. The frontliners are students from all across the country who have come to join this host church in reaching their community with the gospel. Each day in the morning, the students are trained in how to present their faith and then each afternoon, from 1-4, we go out knocking on doors and sharing Christ and His life, death, and resurrection.

For these students, this is an awesome week. They are equipped with everything they need to share their faith effectively-no excuses. For Satan, this is a scary week (we hope). I shared with my group of students today the story of 2 Chronicles 20. In this chapter, King Jehosaphat, who is a good king, is about to go to battle, and before they go, he gets down on his knees and prays to the Lord. He admits that without God they can do nothing. Then, as the battle is starting, he sends out his worshippers on the frontlines. This isn't about a survey or a presentation. It's about God receiving glory through our worship of Him in telling others about Him.

My team is:
Tiffany, Julia, Hannah, Daniel, Nate, and John.

The speakers are:
Kelly Green
Thomas Young
Stuart Henslee

The band is:
Jason Elam band

Be praying for these kids...these hearts...this community...these speakers. Even if you are totally against "confrontational" evangelism, and instead prefer "friendship" evangelism, pray. God doesn't need us to be friends, God doesn't need us to confront. God simply asks that we share our faith...share the life and death of His Son. Then, if God is drawing that person unto Himself, regardless of our method, or abilities, or capabilities, that person shall profess faith in Jesus Christ.

One more intersting thing before I finish up my little 60 minute break before heading back to the church.
As one who is reformed, many times I get in conversations with those who aren't reformed and their biggest "complaint" against us "Calvinists" is that we use our theological system is a shield to hide behind in not sharing our faith. Thomas Young is a reformed evangelist. I am a reformed evangelist. People use all kinds of things as shields to not share their faith. Often, it may be their theology. It may also be fear, or lack of time, or lack of ability. Whatever it is, it's wrong. We are called to spread the message of Christ unto the ends of the earth. It is refreshing to sit under an evangelist who IS reformed and is still so stinking passionate about the gospel and about lost people. Sure, many preachers are passionate about this. But to hear an evangelistic message on Romans 3, and hear the evangelist explain the definition of propitiation and God's satisfaction in His son's death and that sin is anything that we steals glory away from is a beautiful thing and a thing the Southern Baptist Church needs to wake up too and I thank my God upon every remembrance of Thomas Young because He is a communicator of evangelistic sound doctrine.

Pray for softened hearts. Pray for boldness. Pray for strength-both our own physical strength but also strength of the Spirit. Pray for the church of Bell Shoals. I pray that they see these students worshipping freely, and in the power of the Spirit-lifting hands and dancing and shouting and jumping-and that they then be freed to worship without fear or judgment. Pray that Bell Shoals's love of order and schedule be wrecked. That the Spirit inhabits the sancturay and that the congreation is wrecked for the glory of God.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sermon Resources

Sometime in the last month or so, Justin Taylor provided the following links on his blog. I don't know that all who read my blog are nerdy enough to read Justin's, so I thought I'd provide a copy of the links here.

"If you want to hear a sermon on the whole Bible, the whole OT, the whole NT, or overview sermons of each book of the Bible, look no further than these free sermon downloads by Mark Dever. What a gift to the church:

Overview Sermon of the Whole Bible

Overview Sermon of the Old Testament

Old Testament Overview Sermons

Overview Sermon of the New Testament

New Testament Overview Sermons

(HT: Greg Spraul)
(HT: Justin Taylor)"

Mark Dever does a splendid job at summarizing that which seems unable to be summarized. Don't be overwhelmed at the thought of listening to ALL of these sermons. Start with the New Testament and read through the book at hand before you hear the sermon and after you hear the sermon. It doesn't matter how you start, just start reading. Soon, if you are not already, you will fall in love with God's word. Don't pass up this blessed opportunity to get these teachings for free.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Glenn LaRue and the Legacy of Delight

In the recent past, I had the great honor of being a camp counselor for Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida. This is the body of believers in which I grew up and the Lord used this church to influence my life in countless ways. It has been an amazing privilege these past two years to be able to give back to the youth group that I grew up in…to serve the youth minister who once so tirelessly served my friends and I and loved my friends and I.

The theme of camp this year was “LEGACY.” The camp verse was Psalm 145:4-5:

4One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

The first evening, because of God’s sovereign plan and Satan’s clear motive in trying to disrupt that plan, the man who was supposed to be the camp speaker was unable to be there. Instead, our guest-guest speaker was Glenn LaRue. Glenn also grew up at Bell Shoals and went through Victor’s youth group. So for Victor, and many of the other adults there, it was such a delight to see someone they had once ministered too now ministering to them. As Victor said, this was his legacy, being continued on.

So Glenn preached from Psalm 1. First though, he reminded us that though there is a similarity between the words “legend” and “legacy,” there is a crucial difference in their meaning. When you think of a legend, it is often something/someone that is inflated or blown out of proportion. But even if it is true, it very much has a “then” connotation. Legends have very little effect on our lives today. But a legacy, well, a legacy was good then, but even today we are feeling its effects. Okay. So Psalm 1.

1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

He called this “The Legacy of Delight.” In general, we aren’t sure who wrote this Psalm. Most of the Psalms were written by David, so Glenn asked us if we thought it was weird that this random Psalm, probably not written by David, the main Psalm writer, was at the beginning of this book. He reminded us that this Psalm is telling us what the entire book of Psalms is to be about. Look back in verse 1. It begins with “blessed.” This is the first word of the first Psalm of the biggest book of the bible. And it simply means happy. It could say “Happy is the man….” But this is an eternal, lasting, and permanent happiness. Not simply a happiness based on your current state of being.

Then, we got a poetry lesson. A Hebrew poetry lesson to be exact. He said that Hebrew poetry isn’t about rhyming, but instead, it’s about setting up thoughts and parallelism. It is also very highly structured. The first word in the Psalm is “blessed” and the last work in the Psalm is “perish.” This is the frame for what the whole Psalm is about. You have two choices here. Be blessed/happy or be perishing/unhappy.

Then, we had a drawing lesson! (Seriously though, it was good. These kids needed to be shown how to interact with God's word. That though the words are Holy because they are from God, the paper itself isn't.) He told us to put a big bracket around verses 1-2 and write in the margin “TWO WAYS.” Put another big bracket around verses 3-5 and write “TWO RESULTS.” Put one last bracket around verse 6 and write “THE REASON.”

Okay. Two ways. The first way is man’s way.

walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

In my opinion, this was one of my favorite parts of the whole sermon. (The other funny part was this story about Lake Swan and Glenn and Patrick and a giant mudpit. But if you don't know Glenn or Patrick it's not so funny...and you need Glenn to tell it for it to be funny, so I'll just stick with attemping to type my notes.) Glenn said that growing up, his family had always had this verse hung on the wall and he had read it countless times, as many of us probably have. But that he never noticed there was progression here. You begin by walking with the wicked, just kind of chilling out and listening to what they have to say. You progress to participating with sinners. You end with a hardened heart…a mocker’s heart. How obvious once he said it, but I also had never seen the progression before laid out in that Psalm like that.

The second way is God’s way.

Delight in the law of the Lord

Here, delight isn’t just a thinking word. It’s an emotional word. It’s a grounded emotion. It is standing on the law of the Lord. The Law of the Lord is the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation…ALL OF IT. The Law is a means to an end, and the end is the Lord.

Then, there are two results based on your choice of ways. The first is blessing.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers

The second is to be wicked.

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

So chaff. Be real. That's in the bible tons of times. Do you know what it REALLY is? Other than something to do with wheat? Well, chaff is something that comes from harvesting wheat or grain. Once the dry stalk is cut down, they take a winnowing fork and scoop the wheat up into the air and all the dry crusty stuff flies up into the air and blows away and the wheat, the good stuff, falls right back down.

So choose your way, there will be a result, but most importantly there is a reason for that result.

For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

The God over all is watching over him, he who is blessed.

Psalm 1. A Psalm that speaks of the only two ways for us to walk-in blessing or in wickedness. Towards the end, Glenn was crunched for time but the kids got it. It's black and white. 2 "choices" if you will. My prayer would be that they would look at this Legacy of Delighting in the Lord, and meditate on how to delight in the Lord. From there, their world will be knocked upside as the Spirit reveals to them just how delightful it is to delight in the Lord and His ways.

*Usually, when I type notes, they are from a sermon on tape, one I can listen to over and over until I know that I get what is being communicated. This obviously, wasn't on tape and my apologies if I misquoted or misunderstood anything that was being said."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My random spouting followed by some solid John Newton

Needless to say, despite the fact that I am a 20 year old girl, I'm tired of the relationship posts. While these sermons have been good, and are good, and will continue to be good, in a way I feel like it is a waste of time. The people that I talk to that don't date to honor God often don't dress to honor God, or talk to honor God, or eat to honor God, etc. etc. The problem isn't that they need to hear a specific sermon series on how to date and how to dress and how to talk and how to eat. The problem is they have a tiny view of Jesus. I like to call it a pocket Jesus. They pull Jesus out of their pocket and dust Him off when they think they need help, then when the crisis is over, the stuff Him back in His little spot until He's needed by them again.

I think the concept generally goes like this. We want to make the gospel easy enough so that children will understand it, so we boil it down to "You sin. Christ lived. Christ didn't sin. Christ died. Christ rose. Belive this and you'll be saved." I grew up in a youth ministry that impacted my life greatly and is under the leadership of an amazing man who is passionate about students worshiping God and giving their lives over to Him. But sometimes it felt like I was learning the same things in 7th grade that I was learning in 12th grade, as far as corporate teachings were concerned. It was a struggle, because without the Holy Spirit's pushing to dig on my own and read on my own and His inspiring me with some great older believers, I feel like I would have been bored with God. I think that a lot of the kids I grew up with that fell away, fell away because God was easy to them. They were presented a boxed in God. In the beginning, it's a HUGE box so God seems huge. But as we memorize rote passages and learn the mantra of "Don't drink, don't smoke, and don't have sex" the box gets smaller and we get bigger and God gets smaller and soon, God doesn't amaze us. God doesn't astound us. God is no longer indescribable. (This isn't to say that this type of youth ministry isn't effective. I am a product of it, so clearly God does whatever He wants using whoever He wants. I'm just kind of talking here.)

God is so much stinking bigger than that, and I think we, as a Christian culture have become scared to admit that we don't understand God. We don't want to be seen as uncertain, so we present an easy that people easily can understand and therefore feel that they have easily comprehended Him and then they move onto bigger and better things. THERE IS NOTHING BIGGER NOR BETTER THAN GOD. As Justin Taylor once said "Certain knowledge does not mean exaustive knowledge." I am CERTAIN that God exists. I am not certain of all things pertaining to Him...I am certain of very little. I said this on my friend Ryan's blog a few months back. The Gospel is most assuredly simple. It is most assuredly not easy.

Anyways, all this to say that if we as belivers were to wake up to the fact that we have a living breathing Spirit within us, (another Helper of the same kind as Christ),...I think that that realization would do us, as a body, better than yet one more sermon on dating, or one more blog post on a sermon on dating.

(One thing I've learned from blogs is that people reading this don't know me, therefore they don't know my background or my beliefs and statements I make can be seen as callous and off the cuff, so let me clarify. Sermons on dating can be edifying, sermons on modesty can be edifying, sermons on MOST things can be edifying. I, at this very moment, on July 6th 2006 at 1:10 AM just happen to be tired of the necessity of these sermons. If people would desire God and His Son and His Spirit as much as they desired rules to live a happy and fulfilled life...what a GLORIOUS THING. Secondly, I love my youth group and more than that my youth pastor and his family. And of course, even more than that, I love the God my youth pastor pointed me too. They spoke into my life for 6 years as a student and now I've had the opportunity to serve them back.
So, all this to say, I don't want to post on dating right now. I want to take a break and post some scriptural truths. Many will be from Hebrews (Cause that's the book I was going through). Some will be from Psalms. But for those of you who are reading and following this, I'm just updating you on what's going on.)

Now, because all of the above was just some girl randomly spouting off, I leave you with something to actually trust in and feast upon. A month ago, I sat under the teaching of Justin Taylor on the emerging church in a post-modern culture. Towards the end of his lecture, he quoted a passage from John Newton. While I take excellant and detailed notes, I couldn't get the whole thing down. So I emailed Justin asking for the quote. Needless to say, seeing the name "Justin Taylor" in my in-box was pretty stinking cool. He quickly passed on the John Newton quote on controversy and disagreemnt. He used it was a way to respond to the emerging church. Obviously, it applies it countless other ways. This quote spoke to me and I pray it will do the same for you.

"As to your opponent, I wish, that, before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord's teaching and blessing. This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write. . . . [If he is a believer,] in a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now. Anticipate that period in your thoughts. . . . [If he is an unconverted person,] he is a more proper object of your compassion than your anger. Alas! 'He knows not what he does.' But you know who has made you to differ [1 Cor. 4:7]."

John Newton, "On Controversy" [Letter XIX], vol. 1 of The Works of the Rev. John Newton (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1985), 269.